Apr 6, 2009

Defining Hyper Calvinism

Will the real Hyper Calvinist stand up?

Very few Calvinists desire to be labeled as a "Hyper Calvinist." It is an emotive word, provoking intense emotions, mostly negative. In my first chapter of my ongoing book, "The Hardshell Baptist Cult," I defined some commonly used terms relative to discussions about Calvinism. I wrote:

"In my studies in theology and its history, including systems commonly and traditionally known as Calvinism and Arminianism, I accept these definitions regarding variants of Calvinism.

High Calvinism - the belief in absolute predestination of all things, the belief that everything that exists or comes to pass does so due to the will and decree of God. High Calvinists are often known as supralapsarians, and some supralapsarians are Hyper Calvinists, but not all. I am a supralapsarian Calvinist, like other great Baptists theologians, as John Gill and A.W. Pink, and I believe in the proclamation of the gospel to all men and that Christ invites, yea, commands all men to receive him and to acknowledge him and his salvation.

Low Calvinism - the belief in either conditional or limited predestination or the absolute predestination of some things only, certainly not of all things. Low Calvinists are always infralapsarians.

Hyper (or Hybrid) Calvinism - The belief that God works independently of human means in the saving of sinners, the belief that regeneration precedes faith in Christ, that faith in Christ or conversion to the Christian religion are not necessary for regeneration.

Hardshells, for instance, have a sect that are High Calvinists (Absoluters) and a sect that are Low Calvinists. But, they all are Hyper Calvinists."

I am aware that Phil Johnson's definition of "Hyper Calvinism" is one, on the internet at least, gets cited often. I believe that Phil gives a fairly good definition, albeit not perfect or complete. I intend, the Lord willing, to continue my research on this and hope to have something ready this year that will be a more perfect definition of "Hyper Calvinism." I will answer the question - What are the Elements of Hyper Calvinism?

Should we take the Arminians for authority on defining Hyper Calvinism? Should we take only Calvinists? Or, only confessed Hyper Calvinists? We know that there are some who confess to being "Hypers," such as the Hardshells, but are there people who are Hyper Calvinists but who will not admit it? Who is an "authority" on defining it? Is Phil Johnson? If so, why? What will be the criteria for deciding whether a doctrine is Hyper Calvinistic?

Certainly the elements of Hyper Calvinism concern, in one degree or another, all of the five points of Calvinism. When I gave a limited definition of Hyper Calvinism in the first chapter of my book on the Hardshells, I specified the Hyperism of the Hardshells as it respects the fourth point in the Calvinian system, that of "effectual calling," or of being "born again" or "regenerated."

But, more on this in the future!

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